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International Schools for Expats in Japan

Submitted: February 2014

Expats in Japan are fortunate in terms of the many attractive schooling options available. One of the biggest concerns of foreign parents is their children’s ability to cope academically in a new environment. This concern is well founded as in public schools the language of instruction is Japanese. In this regard, international schools represent what many parents are looking for by helping their children to successfully transition to life in Japan.

Some of the popular international school options are listed below:

One of the reasons many parents look towards international schools is the diversity in the curriculum. These schools are not obliged to follow the national curriculum (although it may be offered). Furthermore, programmes may be geared towards obtaining qualifications such as US High School Diploma and GSCEs. Additionally these schools may offer kindergarten through to primary and secondary programmes so that your child does not need to change schools.

Additionally, many international schools offer the option of obtaining an International Baccalaureate (IB Diploma) which is a recognised and accepted qualification for admittance into international universities. In Japan, there are 27 schools which offer this programme and they can be found using the resource below:

One social benefit of selecting an international school is the fact that your child will be exposed to other children of diverse backgrounds and nationalities making their school experience not only educational but multicultural.

You cannot take it for granted that all international schools in Japan are sound academic institutions. Therefore, parents who are especially concerned about the standard and quality of the international school that they have decided to send their child should make attempts to determine whether the school is accredited by the required organisations. Organisations such as the Council of International Schools (CIS) or COBIS are concerned with ensuring that their member schools maintain a proper standard in delivering your child’s education. There are fifteen (15) such accredited institutions in Japan. Please refer to the links below in order to search for international schools accredited by CIS in Japan:

It goes without saying that choosing to send your child to an international school is a significant investment as these options can be quite costly. Tuition varies according to the academic level of your child. Annual tuition can range from to ¥800,000 ($8,000US) to ¥2,000,000 ($20,000US). You will also be required to pay a one-off application fee as well as yearly facilities (building) fees. Please see the links below for samples of fee breakdowns:

Admittance into most international schools involves the completion of an application form along with supporting documents (such as recommendations and official transcripts) as well as an interview. Some institutions require an entrance exam as well. For an overview of the admissions process, please see the links below:

In making your decision, it is recommended that you speak with your proposed school(s) about any of your concerns particularly with regards to class sizes, methods of assessments and performance reports. Some schools such as the Canadian Academy offer the option of boarding, if you choose this option, you should enquire about issues such as your child’s safety and how your child will be supervised.

Most international schools aim to encourage children to become well rounded. As such many schools offer a range of extracurricular activities that will surely cater to your child’s interests. Also many educational activities may be enhanced by options such as school trips abroad. Of course, these activities attract additional fees which would therefore have to be factored into your budget.

Please refer to the following resources below to find international schools across the Japan:



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